05 December 2017

Bikes For Kids In "Bike City"

All right, I'll admit it:  the culture snob that is moi might actually look at It's A Wonderful Life.  Again.

You see, inside the heart of this fan of Mizoguchi (especially Osaka Elegy) and John Coltrane is someone not above a little sentimentality and a happy ending or two every now and again. 

Anyway...If you've been reading this blog, you've probably noticed that I like telling stories of folks who get bikes to kids who might not otherwise get them, especially during the holiday season.  What's not to like about a kid riding a bike for the first time?

That is the experience 400 kids in Portland, Oregon had the other day.  Their "Santa Claus", if you will, is the city's nonprofit Community Cycling Center.  Since 1995, the program has provided over 10,000 bicycles to children from lower-income families.

It's not hard to understand why someone would volunteer for such a project.  "Everyone can remember the joy of their first bike and the feeling of being on a bike as a kid and the excitement and freedom and joy that comes with it," says Kassandra Griffin, who works with the Center.  And other organizations, including Trauma Nurses Talk Tough, aid the Center's efforts.   

The Nurses provided helmets for the children who received bikes.  Like other volunteers, they are motivated by the sense of community their work provides and seeing the delight of kids--who are given safety lessons--taking their first rides.  "I've been an emergency nurse for 12 years," said Geri Gartz, "and...this is one of the best experiences I've had in my career."  

What's not to like about seeing a girl like Nolia Okada getting a pink bike, especially when her family "couldn't afford" it, according to her mother Momo Okada.  "She's going to practice and we can be riding together."

Could this be the beginning--or, at least, part of--a wonderful life?  One can hope.  

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